Cable operators threatened by Hindu fundamentalists
LONDON — Several cable operators in the Indian state of Maharashtra and its capital city, Mumbai, have stopped transmitting Viacom 18’s popular channel Colors in response to threats from right-wing Hindu political party Shiv Sena (Shiva’s Army).Colors is airing the fourth season of “Bigg Boss,” the Indian version of “Big Brother,” hosted by Bollywood star Salman Khan. It features two celebs from Pakistan — actress Veena Malik and cross-dressing talkshow host Begum Nawazish Ali. Members of the Sena, which describes Pakistani participation in Indian programs as “anti-national,” tried to storm the “Bigg Boss” sets several days in a row to disrupt filming, but were deterred by heavy security. Sena leaders issued an ultimatum to the channel to remove the Pakistani contestants and when that was not met, they asked cable operators to stop beaming the channel. The operators complied, resulting in a near total blackout of “Colors.” Other parts of India are not affected, as the party has no influence outside Maharashtra. In February, Sena tried to disrupt the release of “My Name Is Khan” after its star, Shah Rukh Khan, backed the participation of Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League cricket tournament. The party however had no objection to Pakistani singer-actor Ali Zafar starring in summer release “Tere bin Laden” or the legion of Pakistani musical talent that routinely sings for Bollywood films.